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Friendships in Iraqi soccer league show ‘contact hypothesis’ works, but has limits

Friendships in Iraqi soccer league show ‘contact hypothesis’ works, but has limits

Science
Aug. 13 (UPI) -- Christian soccer players who played alongside Muslim teammates in an interfaith soccer league in Iraq were more likely change their behavior for the better toward Muslim players. The experiment, detailed Thursday in the journal Science, however, revealed the limits of the "contact hypothesis" -- while players built relationships on the field, the benefits of the hypothesis did not extend far beyond the soccer-based relationships. Advertisement The contact hypothesis is the idea that intergroup contact, under certain conditions, can reduce prejudice between majority and minority group members. Sectarian tension in Iraq has ancient roots, but those antagonisms have been exacerbated in recent decades by the destabilizing effects of the U.S. invasion, and more recently, by th...